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The Common Cold – A Potential Trigger For Life-Threatening Asthma Attacks

The fall cold and flu season can be a risky time for many of the 235 million people worldwide (statistic from the World Health Organization) who suffer from Asthma. For many asthmatics, something as ‘small’ as catching the common cold can be enough to trigger a life-threatening asthma attack. Existing treatments and medications have been able to successfully control and manage regular everyday asthma symptoms, but like Dr. Sebastian Johnston (a professor from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London) explained in an Imperial College London news release, “during an attack [such as those brought on the common cold virus] the symptoms worsen and can lead to the patient going to hospital.”

Thanks to new research findings (published in the Oct. 1 issue of Science Translational Medicine), new and improved treatments might be in the near future. During their research, scientists from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London identified a specific molecule – called the IL-25 molecule – which appears to be a common trigger for asthma attacks. What does this have to do with the common cold? According to the researchers, their study revealed that when an asthmatic is infected with a common cold, like the rhinovirus, their bodies produced about 10 times the amount of IL-25 molecules than were produced in the lung cells of those without asthma. Also of significant importance, the researchers discovered that an antibody was able to block the IL-25 molecule in mice. Being able to target and block the IL-25 molecule could be an effective method of helping prevent potentially deadly asthma attacks caused by the common cold.

While future studies looking into blocking the IL-25 molecule in humans will still need to be conducted, experts from all around the globe are already expressing their thoughts about how significant these findings could be. Experts like Samantha Walker (who is the director of research and policy at Asthma UK) stated in the college news release that “excitingly, this research, although still at an early stage, could potentially lead to the development of new medicines to prevent life-threatening asthma attacks.”

In the meantime, Mountainside Medical Equipment offers a wide range of products to help make living with Asthma more manageable and help ease the symptoms of your cold. Get back to feeling better with the help of Mountainside Medical Equipment. Get great prices, great service, and a great selection of products!



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